The annual Setting the PACE Race will be off and running once again this Saturday (Sept. 10).

Now in its 14th year, the race – which serves as a major fundraiser for the People Advocating for Children with Exceptionalities (PACE) organization – the race will once again take place at the Meadow Lake Provincial Park.

“The start and finish line will once again be at the Greig Lake Visitors’ Centre,” explained race director Bluesette Campbell. “It’s considered a family fun run, but we accept anyone who wants to participate. We have distances of three-kilometres, five-kilometres, 10-kilometres, 21-kilometres, and we do have a 42-kilometre run, but people need to register ahead of time so we can provide the necessary support for that.”

Campbell went on to comment on just how important the race fundraiser is for the PACE organization.

“Every dollar raised goes back to supporting the organization and PACE families,” she said. “PACE exists to support families with exceptional children, and we provide a place of acceptance, inclusion and support in our community.”

Between 100-150 people are expected to participate in this year’s race.

“That’s been our average,” Campbell noted. “It was down in 2020 a little bit because, that year, we ran a virtual event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We accept registrations even on the day of the race, so I anticipate it to be around that average number. It’s hard to tell at this point, but we have about 50 people registered currently which is on par for this time of year. There will probably be about 30-40 more coming in this week and then several more on the day of the race.”

Campbell also said it’s great to see such a huge cross-section of support from people of all ages.

“The event is designed to not only support the families within PACE, but we often see a huge outpouring of support from the community, people just wanting to participate in an activity like walking and running,” she said. “We also receive a lot of community support from businesses and organizations. Sponsorship dollars allow us to provide everyone with a race shirt, we have some active wear and bandanas sponsored this year and more.”

Another highlight of the Setting the PACE Race each year, Campbell added, are the various water stations set up by volunteers throughout the course.

“They’re designed to keep people motivated,” she said. “We have four stations this year and we ask the participating organizations to write something motivating, inspirational or even a bit comical on signs to keep the people interested and to provide a little entertainment along the way.”

Water stations will be manned this year by the Turning Point Youth Centre, Positively Parenting, Multiworks and the Meadow Lake pride committee.

“Awareness around the issue of disability is becoming more a part of regular conversation, but we still know inclusion is kind of a moving target,” Campbell said. “It’s important for us to raise funds to not only support the families experiencing this journey of raising children with exceptionalities, but also so we can stay present in the community.”

To register for Saturday’s Setting the PACE Race, contact Campbell at 306-240-8044 or visit the PACE Facebook page.

“We look forward to seeing a bunch of community members out there,” Campbell said.

by Phil Ambroziak